Christian thinkers call for a politics of ‘localism’

The participants, he said, “have always been ‘third way’ people” who do not wholly identify with either the Republican or Democratic Party and are focused on inventing a political philosophy that works for “our own neighborhood, communities, localities.” “Jesus taught us to love our neighbors, therefore we need to know who they are,” said Susannah Black, a Christian blogger who spoke at the conference. Another participant, Grace Potts, said she home-schools her six children and prefers to buy handmade goods from local vendors. “Where can I get fair-trade chocolate for the least price and from a local vendor?” Potts asks…

James K.A. Smith Calls to Action the James Didier Symposium on Practices Making Community.

James K.A. Smith in Practices Making Community at Judson’s Didier Symposium

The Judson University Department of Architecture and the Association for Christians in Architecture will host the fifth annual James Didier Symposium On Christ & Architecture Sept. 15-16. …. This year’s symposium will include an impressive roster of featured guest speakers who will take on challenging and relevant topics: • “Places of the Heart: How We Learn to Love” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15. Calvin College professor of philosophy and author James K.A. Smith will address the Judson community, including architecture students and faculty, visiting architects, arts professionals, as well as place-based and home schooling educators. He will explain what…

Neopolis explores Christian ministry in an urban world

Today more than half the world’s population live in cities and this proportion is rapidly growing. Urban values and culture make their impact felt far more widely than just in the inner cities and shanty towns of our world. Christian ministry almost everywhere on earth is now done in a world shaped by urban values.The rapid growth of the city, and the values represented therein, has made it a complex place, a place often viewed with suspicion and fear, harbouring poverty, mistrust, violence and isolation; and yet the city is also a place which offers scope for creativity, for flourishing…

Making the Garden by Christopher Alexander | Articles | First Things

The whole purpose of the work I have done is to show that the presence of God in a matter-­configuration is an objectively existing condition, and that there are specific paths and methods and habits of thought through which we may create buildings where the presence of God can be seen and felt. The two go hand in hand. …. That new vision can become a new source of inspiration and motivation. I call it new not because it is at root genuinely new. Of course it is not—it is ancient. But it is entirely new in our era to…

The Old Regionalism vs. the New Cosmopolitan Hyper-Localism | The American Conservative

Marketers like Claritas Prizm have divided our population into 66 tribes with colorful names like Money and Brains, God’s Country, Big Sky Families, Boomtown Singles, and other such. And America’s Zip codes are classified by which is dominant. What seems to be happening is that, say, the Money and Brains pockets of Southern California identify more with similar pockets in New York, Chicago, Seattle, and Dallas than they do with Southern California as a region; and the same all over the country. The one exception to this is when sports comes on TV; for the duration of the game, all…

Urban Drama: Talking about Cities with Noah Toly and Milton Friesen, Part I | Comment Magazine

Comment is interested in cities. Last year we did an issue called “The Other Side of the City,” which looked at the underside of cities—the parts that don’t make it into the tourism brochures. Today we’re lucky to have two scholars and experts on urbanism, and I wanted to start with something that you would not necessarily expect: the pope. In Evangelii Gaudium, Francis has this little line about cities that I found fascinating. He says, We cannot ignore the fact that in cities human trafficking, the narcotics trade, the abuse and exploitation of minors, the abandonment of the elderly…

The Stones of Washington by Michael Knox Beran, City Journal December 26, 2015

Like so many other new-made towns, Washington lacks whatever it is that gives Old Western (I have followed C. S. Lewis in capitalizing the words “Old Western” as he did in his lecture “De Descriptione Temporum”) cities like Arles and Kraków, Munich and Venice, their charm and interest. It would be extravagant to criticize Lewis for his failure to ask why Washington lacks this deeper civic artistry: yet it is difficult not to conclude that the problem of Washington—essentially the problem of the American city—is bigger than Lewis allows.A truly revealing history of any American town, big or small, would…

The Christian Case for Cities – CityLab

Eric Jacobsen is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Washington. His new book, The Space Between: A Christian Engagement With the Built Environment, makes a compelling case that members of the Christian faith have a special calling to care for cities, and that the form of cities matters to the success of faithful practice. The Space Between strikes me as important, in no small part because it comes from a movement not generally (albeit sometimes) associated, at least not today, with discussion of the form and structure of our cities, and thus brings what for many will be…

Faith-based environmentalism: an interview with Michael Abbaté (Part 1) | Kaid Benfield’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC

Michael Abbaté is director of urban planning and design for Gresham, Oregon, a suburb on Portland’s MAX light rail line that is attempting to create a smarter, greener and more sustainable community for its residents and visitors.  He is a landscape architect by training and co-founded Portland’s award-winning design firm GreenWorks.  He and his wife Vicki live in Fairview Village, a much-acclaimed new urbanist community a couple of miles from his office. What sets Mike apart from others in the field, though, is that he is also a devout Christian who fervently believes that taking care of the earth is…

Is Ecology Haunted? An Ecocritic Reads Laudato Si’ | Comment Magazine | Cardus

In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis attempts something Wendell Berry in his fiction, Annie Dillard in her essays, and even Christian Wiman in his poetry have all attempted in the past decades: to recover the y-axis within ecological thought. Over a month out from the encyclical’s publication it’s clear that it was not the progressive eco-manifesto that some had feared and for which others had hoped. Certainly Pope Francis demands—with an unmistakable urgency—that we take anthropogenic global warming seriously, and he minces no words about the looming ecological crisis should we refuse to change our ways. But these warnings are embedded…